Securing Cislunar Space and the First Island Off the Coast of Earth

Arlington, VA | January 17, 2024 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Policy Paper series, Securing Cislunar Space and the First Island Off the Coast of Earth by Col (Ret.) Charles Galbreath, Senior Resident Fellow for Space Studies at the Mitchell Institute’s Spacepower Advantage Center of Excellence (MI-SPACE).

Reaching the Moon was once a powerful statement of America’s prowess and global leadership, with huge strategic implications that played out during the Cold War. Today, there is a new race to the Moon and the surrounding region that will establish a precedent for both activities on Earth and further into space. This race will translate to very real consequences from security, economic, scientific, and diplomatic perspectives. The U.S. Space Force and U.S. Space Command must take steps today in the cislunar regime to establish the same freedom of operations it realizes in Earth orbit. These steps will include new capabilities such as space domain awareness, high bandwidth communications, and cislunar navigation technologies. Ultimately, Space Force and Space Command must build an architecture that can simultaneously accelerate scientific and economic activities and enable an ability to monitor and respond to irresponsible or threatening behavior. Failure to act now will limit future options, create an unsustainable precedent in the cislunar environment, or even surrender U.S. leadership in space and weaken U.S. leadership globally.

The Mitchell Institute Policy Papers is a series presenting new thinking and policy proposals to respond to the emerging security and aerospace power challenges of the 21st century. These papers are written for lawmakers and their staffs, policy professionals, business and industry, academics, journalists, and the informed public.

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